Sport24 article refers: Ex-Proteas star Cullinan convicted over child maintenance
The good news is that two children’s basic right to parental care from both parents, have finally been protected by the court, as it should be. But the bad news is that the State neglected its duty to protect children’s rights in the first place:
In terms of Section 28.1.8, “Every child has the right to have a legal practitioner assigned to the child by the state, and at state expense, in civil proceedings affecting the child, if substantial injustice would otherwise result.”
How much time and money does the primary care-giver of a child, like the mother in this case, have to spend to get the defaulting parent to pay maintenance for their child?
Think of the many times children are robbed of the only responsible parent’s care, because she has to consult attorneys, stand in endless queues to collect relevant documentation, wait in never-ending lines to submit this documentation to the relevant authorities, sit in court for hours or days only to have the case postponed etc.
Consider the emotional impact a stressed, exhausted and anxious mother has on her children, when she simply cannot manage to be patient, supportive and kind because her world is falling apart and she cannot make ends meet.
If she has a job, what about the number of times she might have to take leave off work to fight this battle, instead of enjoying leave to spend a vacation with her children and get some well-deserved and often overdue rest?
How much time and money does a defaulting parent, like the father in this case, have to spend to get through this excruciating process?
Think of the many times children are robbed of their role-model and fatherly care, because he also has to consult attorneys, stand in endless queues to collect relevant documentation, wait in never-ending lines to submit this documentation to the relevant authorities, sit in court for hours or days only to have the case postponed or perhaps be in contempt of court because he doesn’t appear.
Consider the emotional impact an embarrassed, stressed and fatigued father has on his children, when he becomes irritable, impatient or withdrawn because his world is also falling apart and he simply cannot make ends meet either.
Bear in mind that if he is unemployed, how badly his untenable situation might impact his chances of a successful interview and securing an income, not to mention his ability to pay maintenance. If he has a job, how many times will he have to take leave off work to fight this battle, instead of earning the freedom to spend a little more time with his child(ren) than the divorce settlement allows?
Divorce is tough on everyone involved but children of divorce pay the highest price of all.
If only the State would protect our children’s rights, as explained in my previous article, Children of Single Parents need Support from Courts, this substantial injustice would be prevented:
- Maintenance cases will be pursued by court-appointed practitioners, at state expense
- Affordable alternative dispute resolutions will replace costly high-conflict litigation
- Parents’ financial position will improve considerably as they will not be liable for exhorbitant legal fees
- There will be no need for long queues as the state can easily access all relevant documentation
- Court proceedings will be conducted much more efficiently and maintenance paid timeously
- Mothers and fathers will be able to parent to the best of their energetic ability, without unnecessary stress and anxiety.
- Men and women will pursue their careers with the commitment and resolve it requires, in order to provide for their families.
- Children will not only get proper parental care, but will also be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse and degradation.
The Cullinan children might seem to be financially secure for the moment, but to children in similar cases it might be little consolation for the broken parents they’re left with.
Written by Sinta Ebersohn (Creator of fairdivorce.co.za – Stellenbosch RSA)